The Ashoyin Protectorate
The Ashoyin Protetectorate lies between Fnoi Province and the Meadow Flower Alliance on the banks of the Anhoi River. Here, the Near and Far branches of the Anhoi meet to form a vast lake, Ashoyin Lake. It was once a prosperous realm, the Fragrant Waterlily Nome, under Imperial rule but since independence it has fallen into troubles.

The capital of the Protectorate is the city of Ashoyin, on the eastern shore of Lake Ashoyin. Here, fishermen's huts on stilts merge with the stone ghats of the great stone temples and government buildings. It is a city of ancient permanence and flimsy transience, like many Imperial and post-Imperial cities. Ashoyin is ruled by the Most August Minister Es-Gadar, but he is not a popular man. For one thing, he inherited his position, something that is frowned upon in the meritocratic Imperial society. This would not matter so much if he was not also incompetent, with little sympathy for the ordinary people of Ashoyin. A series of heavy taxes coupled with poor harvests saw Es-Gadar's popularity wane, and was enough to initiate a civil war.

General Chandrat
Perhaps by itself, Es-Gadar's poor rulership would not have incited civil strife, but it was all the excuse that the ambitious General Chandrat needed to declare a military coup against Es-Gadar. Although Chandrat claimed solidarity with the downtrodden poor of Ashoyin, his goals may well have been far more venal, a simple power grab. However, it was not to prove as easy as he had hoped.

Civil War
Initially, Chandrat's insurgence went well - he had control of over half the army and the support of many of the population. Es-Gadar fled to Llaza for sanctuary, leaving his mother, the Dowager Lady Temusha, in charge. Although rather cowardly, this proved to be a shrewd move. Not only was Temusha a determined and uncompromising woman, she was also much more able to command the respect of the people than her son. Chandrat's glorious advance slowed, then stalled altogether. The civil war ground to a stalemate, with Temusha based in Ashoyin and Chandrat's stronghold based in the city of Galis, in the foothills of the Three Sisters Mountains to the east.

The war has been going on for over ten years now, with no sign of resolution. Fighting is sporadic, amounting to little more than raids into opposing territory. Prolonged pointless fighting has led to atrocities on both sides out of desperation; entire villages destroyed to root out traitors, food crops despoiled to prevent the other side gaining them, men, and children, taken away from their families by press-gangs and so on. The Ashoyin civil war has not been kind to the average citizen. Outside influences have helped prolong the conflict. Es-Gadar is backed by the Merchants League, partly because he is seen as the legitimate ruler and partly because it is rumoured that Chandrat has the backing of the Empire of Splendour. The last thing the League wants is for the Empire to gain influence in the Anhoi region again. Both sides hire "barbarian" mercenenaries, mostly Thells and Tlaxu. The criminal Black River Society takes advantage of the chaos to conduct much of its business through Ashoyin.

Other Factions
The Jade Sword is an organization set up to protect the peasants. Branded as bandits by both sides of the conflict, the Jade Sword are a loosely organised group of rebels who try to stop fighters from destroying villages, steal from army pay wagons to feed the poor and oppose the Black River Society wherever they can. The Zeihar Alliance is an independent power based in the south-east of the Protectorate, at the city of Zeihar. It is a well-fortified city-state that primarily rejects both sides and wants to return to normality. It is supported by Nyerdhan, which wants to prevent the conflict spilling out into its territory.

Using the Ashoyin Protectorate
The Ashoyin Protectorate offers a lot of opportunity for war-zone based adventures. In effect, neither side has the moral superiority in this conflict. Although Es-Gadar and Temusha represent legitimate authority, they are not great, noble-minded, leaders. Chandrat is a rebel and an untried quantity. Players will have to make up their own minds where they stand in the conflict.

Adventures set within Ashoyin could present raids into opposition territory, or defending villages for the Jade Sword, robbing or defending supply wagons or even outright pitched battles. The war can also provide a backdrop for other adventures set in Ashoyin - war can hide a great many other activities, so perhaps the characters are on the trail of a Black River Society drug or slaving operation and also have to contend with soldiers from any of the factions, or perhaps they are seeking an ancient site for reasons connected to another adventure. Both sides are always on the look-out for an advantage, so any quest for a powerful item or spell may have to be fought with factions from Ashoyin. Of course, noble-minded player characters may even end up trying to broker peace to the region.

The Island of the Moontouched is an island in Lake Ashoyin, about an hour's row from Ashoyin itself. It is an asylum for those afflicted with insanity spirits and other mind-affecting afflictions. It is a place where player characters may be sent by their enemies, or where they may go in search of a missing person, where they may go to heal from an mind-affecting effect or where they may go in pursuit of rumoured Black River Society action.

The Lion Guard
The Lion Guard are General Chandrat's elite forces, deeply loyal and named after his regimental banner. The banner spirit of the Lion Guard takes the form of a lion-headed humanoid in golden armour. A Lion Guard fights fiercely, and the more highly trained members can enter a state of frenzy (the Whirling Frenzy variant to Barbarian Rage), and this character also uses the lion totem barbarian variant. The standard foot soldiers are known as sepoys.

Lion Guard Captain
Human Ftr2/Brn2: CR 4; Medium Humanoid (human); AL N
Abilities Str 15 (+2), Dex 14 (+2), Con 10 (+0), Int 12 (+1), Wis 9 (-1), Cha 13 (+1)

Initiative +6; Speed 30 ft.
Armour Class 15 (+2 Dex, +3 armour) touch 12, flat-footed 13 (Frenzy AC 17, touch 14)
Saves Fortitude +5, Reflex +2, Will -1 (Frenzy Reflex +4)
Hit Dice 2d10+2d12; hit points 24

Base Attack/Grapple +4/+6
Melee Scimitar +6 (1d6+2, crit. 18-20)
Melee Frenzied scimitar +6/+6 (1d6+4, crit. 18-20)
Special Attacks None
Special Qualities Frenzy 1/day

Skills Intimidate +8, Jump +8, Ride +9, Spot +4, Swim +7 (Frenzy Jump +10)
Feats Blind-Fight, Improved Initiative, Lion's Roar*, Quick Draw*, Run*, Weapon Focus (scimitar)*
Languages Low Imperial, Thell
Possessions Chain shirt, scimitar, standard-pole.

Lion's Roar
Prerequisites: Base Attack Bonus +1, Cha 13+
A character can make a fierce battle cry as a standard action (that does not provoke an attack of opportunity). Any foe of equal or lower hit dice within 30 ft., who can hear the lion's roar, will be shaken for 1d6 rounds unless they succeed in a Will save, DC = 10 + 1/2 character's level + Charisma modifier. This is a sonic, mind-affecting fear effect and the character may perform it 3 times per day plus his Constitution modifier (minimum 1/day).

First Among Equals
The leader of the Jade Sword is a figure known as the First Among Equals, also Number One. Because of the cell-based nature of the Jade Sword, no-one is completely sure who the leader is, and his or her true name isn't known. He or she is rumoured to be a practitioner of the Way of Six Energies, the mystic discipline from Ut'Bharma, but also a devotee to the peaceful ideals of the Great Sage Manrupashnar. It is possible that without the leadership and direction of Number one, the Jade Sword would not have such honourable ideals and become just like any other bandit group preying upon the weak rather than protecting them.

First Among Equals
Human Mnk3/Psn5: CR 8; Medium Humanoid (human); AL N
Abilities Str 10 (+0), Dex 12 (+1), Con 10 (+0), Int 15 (+2), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 14 (+2)

Initiative +1; Speed 30 ft.
Armour Class 12 (+1 Dex, +1 Wis) touch 12, flat-footed 11
Saves Fortitude +4, Reflex +5, Will +8
Hit Dice 3d8+5d4; hit points 26

Base Attack/Grapple +4/+4
Melee Unarmed strike +5 (1d6)
Melee Unarmed flurry +3/+3 (1d6)
Ranged Ray +5 (psionic effect)
Special Attacks Flurry of blows
Special Qualities Evasion, still mind

Skills Bluff +4, Climb +5, Concentration +11, Diplomacy +8, Hide +7, Jump +6, Knowledge (religion) +13, Move Silently +7, Ride +6, Sense Motive +7, Swim +5
Feats Combat Expertise*, Dodge, Improved Trip*, Mobility, Psionic Dodge*, Sidestep Charge, Speed of Thought, Weapon Finesse*
Languages High Imperial, Low Imperial, Ut'Bharman
Possessions Simple robes, prayer mat

Power Points 30
Powers Known
3rd level (Save DC 15) - telekinetic force, touchsight.
2nd level (Save DC 14) - detect hostile intent, dimension swap, energy stun, id insinuation.
1st level (Save DC 13) - burst, conceal thoughts, defensive precognition, distract, inertial armour.

This is one possible candidate for First Among Equals, who combines monk levels using the Passive Way variant with psion levels using the psychoportation discipline. In Conclave terms, the Passive Way style could be Butterfly Style (suggesting that Number One is a woman), and psychoportation is Bitesh-Yana, mastery of the Energy of Movement.

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The Empire of Splendour
Anhoi River States
Banner Spirits
City of Llaza
Meadow Flower Alliance
Merchants League

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